Arizona fires football coach Kevin Sumlin during 0-5 season

Dec 12, 2020, 3:25 PM | Updated: 11:18 pm
Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game ag...

Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin is shown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Tucson, Ariz. Sumlin could be on the hot seat this season after going 9-15 his first seasons at Arizona. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

University of Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin was fired Saturday, the day after the 70-7 loss to rival Arizona State, the school announced in a press release.

Defensive Coordinator Paul Rhoads will take over for Sumlin as the interim head coach.

On Friday night, ASU scored the first 42 points of the game and forced seven turnovers as it handed Arizona its fourth Territorial Cup loss in a row.

That was the final straw for Arizona, whose football team has now lost 12 games in a row extending to last season.

“When we hired Kevin three years ago, we had very high hopes for our football program,” Dave Heeke, vice president and director of athletics, said in the release.

“Unfortunately, we simply have not seen the results and upward trajectory in our program that we needed to, and I believe now is the time for a change in leadership.”

The Wildcats will honor the terms of Sumlin’s contract, including his $7.5 million buyout, according to the release.

Sumlin did not lead the Wildcats to a single winning season, as Arizona finished 5-7 in his first season, 4-8 in his second and is 0-5 in 2020 at the time of his firing.

Sumlin was hired after a six-year stint at Texas A&M during which the Aggies went 51-26 and made five bowl games. Prior to that, he coached at Houston from 2008-2011, during which the Cougars went 35-17.

He is 95-63 over his 13-year career and is 4-3 in bowl games.

Arizona hired Sumlin in 2018 after firing former head coach Rick Rodriguez.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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